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Zanu PF rues Ncube snub

ZANU PF is ruing the opportunity it squandered to contain the MDC-T in Matabeleland and Midlands regions by supporting Arthur Mutambara instead of Welshman Ncube over the deputy premiership post in the aftermath of a controversial MDC congress in 2011
The move by Zanu PF to support Mutambara to keep his position in government despite initially conceding defeat has given Ncube more political capital and momentum, mostly in Matabeleland and Midlands region where the MDC-T dominates.
Some within Zanu PF are beginning to question the party’s decision to back Mutambara and not Ncube.
Herald columnist Nathaniel Manheru, widely believed to be Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba, last weekend came out openly lamenting Zanu PF’s strategic blunder.
Manheru says Zanu PF’s actions have helped reinforce “conspiracy theories” President Robert Mugabe and his party were against people from Matabeleland and the Midlands region where Ncube actually comes from.
“The materially inconsequential, but unrequited victories he (Ncube) has won in the leadership contest, has become huge symbolically for a region looking for a hero, craving for representational victory,” Manheru opines. “We have cost ourselves trust in Matabeleland, even lending credence to Ncube’s conspiracy theories.”
Mugabe has refused to acknowledge Ncube as a principal and to appoint him to replace Mutambara on a legal technicality, although the MDC leader has been winning in the courts.
Edson Zvobgo Jnr says the decision by Zanu PF with the benefit of hindsight may have been wrong although it was “principled”.
“The decision we (Zanu PF) had to take was a question of being principled or being expedient,” Zvobgo Jnr said, “However, rarely has the party been tempted to embrace expediency at the expense of principle.”
Zvobgo Jnr said the rift was further complicated by the nature of the GPA signed between Zanu PF and the two MDC formations which has some “queer clauses”.
However, Manheru says: “While there was a genuine legal argument to delay the ascendancy of Ncube both to the leadership of the other faction of the MDC and to national vice premiership, there was little that stood in the way of Zanu PF to make some symbolic show of goodwill and fairness.”
Manheru believes each legal battle Ncube has won in the courts has weakened Zanu PF’s position on the issue. “Zanu PF can still regain ground, both symbolically and materially. Ncube still needs the goodwill of Zanu PF which he has deserved for long without getting, and there is a lot that can be done between now and elections,” he says.
Ncube and his MDC seem to be gaining ground, especially in Matabeleland and Midlands, riding on the wave of new-found general approval and issues like devolution.

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